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Dave Olson, Published August 26 2011

Detroit Lakes native braces for Hurricane Irene

BOTTINEAU, N.D. – Hurricanes weren’t on Jon Skogen’s radar until after he moved into an ocean-front condo in South Carolina earlier this year.

But reality dawned when neighbors casually remarked that special flood insurance could be purchased to cover hurricanes.

“It was like, ‘Oh, wow. I guess I need to think about that,’ ” said Skogen, a Detroit Lakes, Minn., native who has been thinking about storms a lot since Hurricane Irene began moving toward the East Coast and the community of Folly Beach, S.C., where his home rests on a small island connected to the coast by a causeway.

Skogen works at a church retreat and Bible camp in Bottineau and makes trips home to South Carolina every few weeks.

He returned to South Carolina on Thursday to see what he could do about securing his home before Hurricane Irene makes landfall, which could happen late today or early Saturday.

It remained unclear just where Irene may hit, but Skogen said there was some comfort in knowing his home is already somewhat storm-proofed.

It sits atop stilts about 5 to 6 feet off the ground, and the windows are made of heavy-duty glass.

It also has a track record of surviving storms.

“The property survived (Hurricane) Hugo back in the ’80s, which I guess was pretty devastating to the area,” said Skogen, who knows he needs to find a high spot to park his car because the land around his home is only a foot above sea level.

“If there’s a storm surge, the whole little island would be kind of under water,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555